WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper knocked his one-liner as far out of the park as he did his monster home run into the third deck.
“I was just trying to impress the scouts,” Harper said after the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 on Wednesday night.
Well, almost as far. Harper’s towering two-run home run traveled an estimated 451 feet off Bud Norris in the first inning, a rocket that was one of the longest hit at Nationals Park.
The reigning National League MVP took a 3-1 fastball from Norris and sent it over the Jackie Robinson sign on the facade in right. Harper said he was just trying to get a good swing on the ball and recalled former manager Matt Williams’ mantra of, “It’s not how far, it’s how many.”
But this one was far.
“He didn’t miss that one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He tried to come up and in and just missed right around thigh high, and that’s his nitro zone. Obviously a very good hitter like that, he can put a charge into it.”
As far as how many, Harper reached 20 home runs for the fourth time in five seasons. He later walked and scored on Wilson Ramos’ RBI double that was just one part of Washington’s offensive explosion.
Ben Revere, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon also hit home runs and Trea Turner had an RBI triple and stole home for Washington, which snapped a six-game losing streak to Los Angeles dating to last season. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-8) had one of his best starts of the season, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six in six innings.
Manager Dusty Baker said Gonzalez was “effectively wild” and didn’t have a lot of pressure because of the run support he got.
“Obviously you’ve got to tip your cap to our offense,” Gonzalez said. “These guys clobbered the ball today. And Norris wasn’t that bad, either. He was out there pitching, attacking the strike zone. But our guys were just going out there, putting good wood on the ball and what a shot by Bryce.”
Other than Harper’s home run, the Nationals were buzzing about Turner’s second triple in two nights and the speedy second baseman’s steal of home on a botched pickoff attempt in the sixth inning.
“It was a big play,” Turner said. “It was fun. It was exciting.”
It was an eventful but not so exciting night for Norris (5-8), who gave up six runs on seven hits in five-plus innings before giving way to the bullpen. He struck out eight as part of an inconsistent outing, and it didn’t help that he allowed three home runs, including back-to-back from Revere and Werth in the fifth.
“That did us in right there,” Roberts said of the back-to-back homers.
Dodgers: Roberts said surgery was “more of a possibility” for LHP Clayton Kershaw after a setback with the herniated disk in his back. … LHP Alex Wood underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow and is expected to miss eight weeks. … Roberts said Corey Seager might be back in the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a stomach virus. … RHP Chris Hatcher was placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury.
Nationals: Rendon returned to the lineup after missing two games with the flu. … INF Stephen Drew was out sick again. … Baker said RHP Joe Ross (shoulder inflammation) and 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left rib cage sprain) will each go on a rehab assignment at some point.
Called up earlier in the day, RHP Koda Glover made his major league debut with a perfect ninth. Glover only needed four pitches to get through it.
“For the first time I was actually nervous,” Glover said. “I don’t normally get nervous, but it definitely got the blood pumping.”
KENDRICK KEEPS IT ALIVE
With his double in the eighth, Dodgers LF Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 12 games. A fly out left him stranded.
Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-0, 2.51 ERA) looks to continue his undefeated season against LHP Julio Urias (1-2, 4.95), who gets the ball for the injury-ravaged Dodgers in the series finale.
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